Are you here to learn something or prove something?

I just read an article by Jason Fried. Jason is a remarkable thinker, author (Getting Real, Remote, REWORK) and entrepreneur — and he often drops deep nuggets of wisdom.

In the article, Jason vulnerably shares how he would often be quick to respond to things he didn’t agree with.

"I used to be a hothead. Whenever anyone said anything, I’d think of a way to disagree. I’d push back hard if something didn’t fit my world-view.

It’s like I had to be first with an opinion — as if being first meant something."

Jason shares that the reflex to disagree came to a head in 2007 when Richard Saul Wurman (creator of the TED conference) called him out.

"He said 'Man, give it five minutes.' I asked him what he meant by that? He said, it’s fine to disagree, it’s fine to push back, it’s great to have strong opinions and beliefs, but give my ideas some time to set in before you’re sure you want to argue against them.

'Five minutes' represented 'think', not react.

He was totally right.

I came into the discussion looking to prove something, not learn something."

That last sentence really stood out to me, and I immediately added this line to my journal:

Are you here to learn something or prove something?

I realized how guilty I was of trying to push my own ideas onto others before fully understanding their perspective.

If you are familiar with Stephen Covey, this learning may ring a bell. It’s similar to Habit 5 in Stephen’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — a classic I like to come back to every few years.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

It’s been a hard lesson for me to learn, but being able to deeply listen — withholding judgment, analysis, and my own projections from past experience — is something I have found to be deeply important.

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Dave Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

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